Networked Learning Project Part 2: Maxi Skirt Update

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve gathered materials and information for my Networked Learning Project, and now it’s time to dig in and begin!

After watching videos and reading articles on how to sew with knit/jersey fabric, I made a run to the local Hancock Fabrics store, where I purchased the materials I needed: thread, bobbins, a ballpoint needle, 2 yards of a grey fabric for attempt #1, and 2 yards of a pink and black chevron fabric for my final product (which will be more challenging to sew because of the pattern).  I also bought a double needle and some elastic, because some of the resources recommended them, but after reading a few more sources, I decided not to use them for my first attempt.

2014-05-22 06.28.00

my 2 fabrics

Then I ran the fabric and elastic through the washer & dryer, to shrink them before I sewed them.  While the fabric was washing, I took my measurements and made a pattern.  This was one of the hardest parts to decide on, simply because there are SO MANY different people online telling you SO MANY different ways to measure, to cut the fabric, and to design the waistband.  Since I’m new at this, it’s hard to figure out what the BEST way is, so I just went with method suggested by the most professional-looking video. (I think this has implications for anyone learning a new skill by networked learning.  Since novices have a difficult time discerning who is a reliable expert on the topic, they may be swayed by less important criteria.)


my pattern & measurements

Next, I ironed my fabric to remove wrinkles and then cut out my fabric using the pattern I made.  At this point, I noticed a potential problem.  It appears my waistband is probably going to be too small, partly due to the fact that I cut the fabric going the wrong direction.  The fabric is more stretchy in one direction than the other, and I probably should have cut it with the stretch going side-to-side instead of diagonal, so it will stretch over my hips.  I don’t have enough fabric to re-cut the entire skirt, so I just re-cut the waistband, and hoped for the best!

waistband looks too narrow!

waistband looks too narrow!

I replaced the normal needle with the ballpoint needle on my sewing machine, and then used some scraps to experiment with zig-zag stiches and my new needle’s tension.  Then I started sewing!!  First the side seams got stitched together.  The video recommended that I sandwich the fabric between tissue paper to keep it from stretching, but my machine got stuck when I tried that.  No other sources I saw recommended that, so I decided to try it without (which turned out to be a fine choice).

attempting to sew with tissue paper

attempting to sew with tissue paper

Then I sewed my new waistband on.  Unfortunately, I had my skirt turned inside out when I sewed the waistband on, so the seams on the waistband are inside-out when the seams on the skirt are right-side out.

skirt issues

skirt issues

I thought about removing and re-attaching it, but I discovered that it actually looks okay if I fold the waistband down to hide the seam.  I’ll make it right on my final skirt!  Then I hemmed the bottom of the skirt with a straight stitch, and…Voila! I have a new custom-made skirt!


I’m happy with my first skirt attempt.  Even though I made a few mistakes, it’s wearable, and I learned some things I can fix for my next skirt.  Stay tuned for another update soon!





Networked Learning Project Part 1: Making a Maxi Skirt

As the weather has finally started to warm up this spring, I’ve found myself frequently browsing the racks at my favorite clothing stores in search of some sundresses and maxi skirts to wear on warm days.  Unfortunately I’m realizing that the particular combination of shape, fabric, and cost I’m searching for is hard to find.  Actually, I often find shopping frustrating and wish I could just sew my own clothes in the specific colors and sizes I want.  A few years ago, I convinced my mom I was serious about this, so she bought me a sewing machine.  As these dreams often go, of course, that sewing machine is currently collecting dust in my closet. 


Luckily for my sewing machine, the Networked Learning Project for my CEP 810 course is about to rescue it from the dust bunnies!  I have been challenged to learn how to do something using only YouTube and online help forums.  I’ve decided to learn how to make maxi skirts (as shown in the picture) using only online resources.  I haven’t actually sewed anything since I made pajama pants in middle school.  And even then, I was using a pattern I purchased at the store and had the extensive help of my mom (who, if I’m being honest, did at least 90% of the sewing).  I also have never sewed with stretchy knit fabric before, and it seems that it requires some different techniques.

 I’ve done a little preliminary research and found a few links to sites that I think will be helpful:

  1. Video: DIY Maxi Skirt tutorial, ThreadBanger
  2. How to Make a Maxi Skirt, Wikihow
  3. Video: How to Sew Knits and Stretch Fabrics, smarmyclothes
  4. Sewing Knit Fabric on Regular Sewing Machine, Tilly & the Buttons

Stay tuned over the next few weeks for updates.  I appreciate your encouraging comments!


Photo Source:

Carina. (2011, April 11). Floral maxi skirt [Photograph]. Retrieved from  Made available under Creative Commons Licence.